Cuomo's tax commission wants two-year property tax freeze

Governor Andrew Cuomo's tax commission wants a two-year freeze on property taxes.

The state would subsidize the costs, so taxpayers wouldn't see increases. The second year of a freeze would include provisions to force local action and cuts to yield permanent tax relief.

In a report Tuesday, the commission also proposes a tax credit for homeowners who spend a large portion of their income on property taxes. Other recommendations would merge and simplify taxes for employers and reduce the estate tax.

Cuomo called the report impressive.

"This is good news," said Cuomo. "It's good news that the state is in the position to contemplate tax cuts. Just three years ago we were looking at a ten billion dollar deficit; it was this large mountain that we were faced with that was seemingly impossible to deal with. We have dealt with the deficits, we did what we had to do, we had to make some tough choices. We did, we passed a property tax cap, we've reduced spending on the state side down to 2%, the property tax cap 2% on local government side, we reduced the state workforce, we renegotiated the labor contract on the state side, and we now are in a position where we are looking at a surplus which allows us to invest more and to keep doing what we've been doing and to generate the economy even more and thus generate more tax revenue. So it's good news that we are in a position and we have frankly this luxury, how do you invest the surplus because we've done what we had to do, we've been controlling spending."

The report could help shape the tax cut Cuomo is promising for 2014. He supports a state-subsidized cut in property taxes that could be tied to household income so poorer and middle class families would see more of a break than the wealthier.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney issued a response to the report Tuesday afternoon, saying "It is clear that Governor Cuomo's Property Tax Relief Commission understands the burden of New York State's high taxes on both employers and homeowners. The Governor's commission understands that we need a fundamental change. If the commission's recommendations are adopted, it will make real tax relief possible.

The Commission's emphasis on improving the Upstate Economy is also welcome news. For years, communities across Upstate New York have struggled to cope with the loss of a once strong industrial tax base. These recommendations will help employers stay in New York while at the same time helping Upstate NY become more competitive.

The Governor's Commission made a number of common sense proposals that will bring real relief to all New Yorkers and I thank them for their hard work."

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)